Recently, science fiction author Jack Womack took a break from his near constant political watchdogging to tweet a quick reminder:
“I don’t believe in Flying Saucers; I do believe in people who believe in them.”
The tweet was more than just an offhand clarification. It’s something of a defining statement from Womack, and necessary to make clear because he recently compiled a definitively titled book, Flying Saucers Are Real, for Anthology Editions. An exhaustive catalog of his sprawling collection of UFO literature, the book is an examination of UFO culture in its many permutations. But for Womack, it’s never been about the saucers themselves so much as the people who’ve seen them.
“I’m interested in the innermost workings of people who believe in [UFOs],” Womack says from his home in New York City. “I want to know what led someone to believe in them and why it’s such an archetypal fantasy.”
Diversions, a recurring feature on AD, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing. For this installment (Halloween appropriate) we catch up with Zig Zags‘ Jed Maheu as he runs down a brief history of rocknroll’s boogeyman mascots. All hail the Boognish.
When I was growing up outside of Portland, Oregon I had a babysitter named Randy. He was your typical 80’s hesher. He gave me cassette tapes of early Def Lepard, Ozzy Osbourne and even Eddie Murphy’s Raw. His older buddies drove Novas and sometimes they would come pick us up in the trailer park we lived in and drive us to the Clackamas River. There was a spot called there called High Rocks where everyone used to party. While the older guys hung out with chicks and smoked weed and drank, I would try to entertain them by jumping off the rocks into the water. One time I was standing on the bridge overlooking the water and some dick on a BMX ala Over The Edge tried to mow me down. Randy reached out and grabbed me by my shirt and yanked me out the way. “That’s not cool fuckhead! He’s just a kid” Randy said to the dick. Years later when trying to come up with a name for the Zig Zags mascot, Randy just seemed like the perfect handle for our version of Eddie. I hope the real Randy is doing good these days, as that was a long time ago, but in his honor he has been re-imagined as a skull faced, metal/punk hybrid from the other side — and although a frightening visage, he’s ultimately a force for good against the evils of anyone not willing to have a good time. Below, Randy joins Heaven’s Gate.
This is the story of the other “mascots” that have influenced Randy over the years . . .
Lux Interior: inter-dimensional, pan-sexual, time-traveling rock & roll alien. And radio host. As Halloween draws nigh we’re revving up for our annual airing of The Purple Knif Show, the one-off radio program hosted by Lux in 1984 deep in the bowels of Hollywood. As master of ceremonies, Lux runs through his personal archives spinning the weird ranging from rockabilly and garage to early punk, campy novelty and exotica. His bag of tricks was the best. So go ahead, “get out your magic decoder rings, boys and girls…” Trick or treat.
Given the time of year, the temptation with Itasca’s Open To Chance is to call it the perfect autumnal soundtrack. But the truth is, it would sound just as good had it been released in April, or July or February. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Kayla Cohen has been releasing spare acoustic music under the Itasca moniker for a few years now; for her Paradise of Bachelors debut she’s recruited a supporting band, including Dave McPeters whose gorgeous pedal steel playing provides a perfect counterpoint to Cohen’s intricate fingerpicking patterns.
The album nods in the direction of the classic Laurel Canyon sound of the early 1970s — Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill — while also incorporating a distinctly Britfolk vibe, recalling the intimate pastoralism of Bridget St. John or Nick Drake. Cohen’s voice rarely rises above a whisper, but it’d be a mistake to describe it as “wispy,” I think. There’s a power and authority to every moment here, whether it’s the wide-eyed reverie of “Buddy” or the heavy fog that seems to drift across the sonic landscape of “Bonafide.” words / t wilcox
Several years ago, I discovered that MV & EE held the distinction of being the Most Represented Artist in my record collection, nudging out previous record-holders The Fall. I confess this not to assert my authority when it comes to MV & EE music, but to sympathize with those curious listeners who are perhaps intimidated by an enormous and overwhelming discography, not knowing the way “in.” To those listeners I say Root/Voidis the entry point, not merely because it encapsulates almost all of the myriad styles, strengths, and charms of this long-running duo (it does), but because it is one of the most compelling, imaginative, and unique modern psychedelic records made by anyone in recent memory.
Over the years, Matt “MV” Valentine has sharpened his instantly recognizable production style to a fine point, and Root/Void is nothing if not a feat of production; the album is a showcase for MV’s cauldron of sound, at once meticulously layered and dubwise deep. Fans of collage-style trips from Anthem of The Sun to Twin Infinitiveswill find layers to untangle and unravel here, while appreciators of the band’s homegrown melding of Comes A Time-era Neil with microtonal bummer blues can add “Much Obliged” and “Feel Alright” to their list of indispensable MV & EE alternate reality “hits.” Elsewhere, the thick layers of field recordings, disembodied voices, stoned guitar and buzzin’ fly synthesizer of “I’m Still In Love With You Love > Void” posits a Hudson Valley version of the dusted musique concrete of Daevid Allen’s Gong.
It’s an open secret among MV & EE diehards that the albums that most prominently feature Erika “EE” Elder are often the group’s best, and Root / Void is an “EE” album the way Washing Machineis a “Kim” album; Elder’s vocals and keening lap steel guitar haunt the album’s every unexpected turn, threading together spacey tremolo-damaged guitar, decrepit drum machine, and tabla fog, the north (dark) star above MV’s currents, ripples, and waves. Rumor has it Root / Void ran well over deadline and well over budget, which alone doesn’t place it alongside hard-won masterpieces like Tusk and Loveless; the fact that it is just as singular, insane, and beautiful as those once-in-a-lifetime works, however, makes it more than welcome in such conversations. Sleepers, awake! words / j jackson toth
The last time we highlighted a Stones cover was several years back upon the release of Alex Chilton’s Free Again Sessions from 1970 – specifically his proto-punk rendering of “Jumping Jack Flash”. Here, we find Bengali musician Ananda Shankar’s psychedelic sitar take on that tune (also from 1970) and the Doors’ “Light My Fire”, both via the Snow Flower lp.
Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.
SIRIUS 453: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ The Swamp Rats – I’m Going Home ++ Dennis Wilson / Beach Boys – Lady ++ The Kinks – I Go To Sleep (demo) ++ Le Bain Didonc – 4 Cheveux Dans Le Vent ++ The Brummels – Bof! ++ Nancy Sinatra (w/ Hal Blaine) – Drummer Man ++ The Motions – Beatle Drums ++ Naomi And The Boys – As Tears Go By ++ Ify Jerry Krusade – Everybody Likes Something Good ++ Aguaturbia – Rollin’ ‘N Tumblin’ ++ Sea-Ders – Thanks A Lot ++ The Olivia Tremor Control – Memories of Jacqueline 1906 ++ The Millennium – I Just Don’t Know To Say Goodbye ++ Harry Nilsson – You Can’t Do That (Alternate Take) ++ Roy Wood – Wake Up ++ Emitt Rhodes – Long Time No See ++ Jacques Dutronc – L’Espace D’Une Fille ++ Allah-Las – Strange Heat ++ The Strange Boys – Should Have Shot Paul ++ The Zombies – Sticks And Stones ++ Thee Oh Sees – The Sun Goes All Around ++ Lantern – Bleed Me Dry ++ Canarios – Trying So Hard ++ Screaming Lord Sutch – Flashing Lights ++ Bob Azzam & His Orchestra – The Last Time ++ Alex Chilton – Jumpin’ Jack Flash ++ Johnny & The Attractions – I’m Moving On ++ Beach Boys – Unknown Harmony ++ Rob Jo Star Band – I Call On One’s Muse ++ Cisneros & Garza Group – I’m A Man ++ Rolling Stones – We Love You ++ Music Convention – Sitar Track ++ Shin Joong Hyun – I’ve Got Nothing To Say ++ The Samurai – Fresh Hot Breeze Of Summer ++ The Shadows – Scotch On The Socks ++ Dion – Daddy (Rollin In Your Arms) ++ Relatively Clean Rivers – Easy Ride ++ The Soul Inc. – Love Me When I’m Down ++ Jerry And Jeff – Voodoo Medicine Man ++ Dion – Baby, Let’s Stay Together ++ Apple & The Three Oranges – Curse Upon The World ++ T.L. Barrett And Youth For Christ Choir – Like A Ship ++ Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham – Lover And A Friend ++ Tony Owens – I Got Soul ++ Famous L. Renfroe – Introduction ++ Big Sambo & The House Wreckers – The Rains Came ++ Alton Ellis – Whiter Shade of Pale
*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
On Black Friday (November 25th) Light In The Attic Records will release Lagniappe Sessions, Vol. 1, documenting the first five years of the series on gold vinyl. Since launching the series in 2011, the Lagniappe Sessions have come to define the genre-spanning, eclectic ethos of of A.D.
Vol. 1 features of Montreal covering the folk standard “All My Sorrows” (popularized by the Kingston Trio), Sonny & The Sunsets covering West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Ryley Walker playing Amen Dunes, Dungen reinterpreting electronic pioneer Aphex Twin, Little Wings plying Billy Idol’s haunting “Eyes Without A Face,” White Fence refashioning the Gin Blossoms’ “Allison Road” into a lost Paisley Underground cut, Ultimate Painting covering Sheryl Crow, Tashaki Miyaki tapping into the dreaminess of The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes For You,” Matthew E. White singing Randy Newman, Kevin Morby finding hidden loveliness in the hardcore screed of The Germs, William Tyler mapping the connection between the progressive rock of Blue Öyster Cult and Sandy Bull’s transcendental ragas, and Jennifer Castle covering Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.
Presented for the first time on vinyl and limited to 1,500 copies, the LP comes housed in a deluxe Stoughton tip-on jacket and includes a booklet with track notes by the artists. This album is an official Record Store Day Black Friday release and available only at participating stores.
The album that keeps on giving – Shintaro Sakamoto’s 2011 debut, How To Live With A Phantom. Following his two decade involvement with Japanese psych-rockers Yura Yura Teikoku, Sakamoto eased into second gear with Phantom, assembling a heady quilt with nods to euro-lounge, exotica, funk and 70s crystalline pop.